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Custom POI Files - What Tools Are Needed?

Tim 1497 Points
edited November -1 in GPS Discussions
Hi Everyone,

I've heard from an increasing amount of people recently who are looking for assistance with custom POI files and databases. The questions range from "I've downloaded one, how do I install it?" to more complex things like "I have a database of lots of locations, how do I geocode everything and convert everything into the proper binary format?"

While there are lots of websites out there that offer bits and pieces of all of the tools everyone needs, people still get stuck. I typically make the custom POI files myself, "by hand" with my own tools, so I spend little time on those sites.

So my question to everyone is what tools are you still seeking to develop your own custom POI files. Do you need the most assistance with finding the raw data itself? Do you need help finding a way to geocode all of the addresses? Do you need help converting things from one format to another? Do you need help with installation?

I'm trying to get a feel for what parts of the process have the biggest needs. From there I can see what I can do (if there is enough demand) to help develop tools to facilitate everyone's POI needs.

The more specific you can be about your needs, the more likely I'll be able to help. In other words if you say "the whole process needs help" then I probably don't have enough time to develop something that will be a complete Swiss Army knife. However if people can prioritize their needs I can look into developing some of the frequently needed tools, and branching out from there.
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Comments

  • Larry 0 Points
    Tim,
    Do you need anything further that what I've written in my posts on the other threads about this subject?

    I want a tool that allows me to enter or import a list of addresses, have the tool automatically grab the geocode, ideally give me the option to optimize the route (and reflect that in the POI name), and then format an output file for POI Loader. Even better would be if the tool could integrate with POI loader in such a way that it all seemed seamless rather than feeding the output of one tool into another.

    I don't think this is really all that big a coding job and I suspect a moderately skilled programmer could knock this out in no time. Some experience with VBA and mash-ups probably wouldn't hurt though.
  • Larry 0 Points
    - See thread "Loading an Optimized Itinerary"
    - The concept of being able to download an address book or other list into a GPS system seems SO BASIC I can't believe such a utility isn't standard...

    Aaarrrggghhh!
  • Tim,
    Do you have your process to create your POI's posted anywhere? They way you described how you make them, sounds very interesting. I haven't had the need to add any POI's to my unit yet, so I haven't done any research about it. But I would like to play around with it.
  • Tim 1497 Points
    I'm also a computer programmer so the methods I use wouldn't be very user friendly for most folks. So no, I haven't really posted the process I use.
  • Larry 0 Points
    Tim,
    Do you have your process to create your POI's posted anywhere? They way you described how you make them, sounds very interesting. I haven't had the need to add any POI's to my unit yet, so I haven't done any research about it. But I would like to play around with it.
    LC,
    Look here:
    http://www.gpsreview.net/forums/discussion/comment/4787/#4787

    I haven't built my sheet yet, but most of the services use the same core fields in the same order, so that eliminates a lot of complexity. It is really pretty simple - it reads more complicated that it actually is.
  • Thank you Larry.
  • Larry 0 Points
    Tim, regret it doesn't look like you are getting much interest here. Bummer! :(
  • Tim 1497 Points
    Yea, I don't think the lack of responses is due to a lack of interest.... but probably a question of "where do I begin?" or "I don't even know what I need".
  • ros2004 0 Points
    Right. I didn't know about this thread and even if I had known I might not know where to begin.

    As already mentioned, it would be nice to be able to obtain the POI data by entering addresses and build the file in the correct format using just one tool.
  • ros2004 0 Points
    One other thing. Would like to be able to selectively remove unwanted POI files.
  • Tim 1497 Points
    From the pre-installed POI files?
  • ros2004 0 Points
    From the pre-installed POI files?
    No, I mean the custom POIs. The POI loader for Garmin uploads all the POI files from your computer. It won't let you selectively unload a file you don't want anymore -- you have to unload them all and then reupload the ones you want.
  • I will be buying a TT720 within the Week.
    I want to add POI's for some golf courses located around
    my region.
    can I just put the address of the Golf Course in the unit and save as a POI or will I have to use the computer to download files?
  • Tim 1497 Points
    You can add them manually/directly from the device as well.
  • POIEdit
    GPSBabel
    These two will convert to & from most of the format (CSV, OV2 ...)
    To convert EST (Streets & Trips) to TomTom OV2 use this
    POIConverter
  • If you have a POI from different sources, you can append the 2 (or several) together using POIEdit, save the resulting file in Garmin CSV format then remove the duplicates with the program bellow.
    DUPS
  • For those who like to tinker with TomTom POI.
  • fishy 0 Points
    A big thanks to Tim and tomj03.

    Thanks to you guys and the site of http://www.poi-factory.com/
    I was able to find a Holiday Inn database and then convert it to TT format from gpx and loaded it onto my TT 1.

    I was a little suprised at how lacking in some POI's that TT was, but with the converters I should be able to really get some good updated info on mine.

    Thanks again guys. :D
  • Download this onto your desktop.
    Rename the MyPoi.zip to MyPoi.jar .
    Double click on that (you need Java) to search for POI. It's a very cool program, unfortunately it works only for the USA.
  • fishy 0 Points
    Thanks Tom, will try.
  • fishy 0 Points
    Tomj03, or anyone else having the same issue,

    I am using the POI Edit and also the GPSbabel but have run into some issues with certain files.

    Some of the csv files from POI-Factory work and some dont. It appears to be an excel issue. Have you had any issues with this and have you been able to fix them. It has something to do with the address sometimes being seen as a lat/lon number on some files and just text on others.(these files work) Have been beating my head against the wall most of the day trying to get excel to convert but I am not an excel person.

    Thanks,
  • Tim 1497 Points
    Can you give an example of a file you are having trouble with?
  • fishy 0 Points
    Tim,

    Here is a link

    http://www.poi-factory.com/node/6118 (beef O'bradys) Applebees works fine.

    Sorry, haven't researched how to post url on here yet.

    I have tried both POI-edit and gpsbabel. On poi-edit it says the first address of file "is not a valid floating point value". On the gpsbabel it just says that the the number that is the street number is not a valid lat/lon.

    Not sure this helps but thanks for looking at it.
  • Tim 1497 Points
    Okay, taking a quick look at that file (I might have more time to troubleshoot later) I'd get rid of column C so that you just have the lat, long, and address/phone columns (3).
  • fishy 0 Points
    Tim,

    I have tried that with out any luck. I have been googling "valid point value error" but so far not much luck in finding an answer.

    Appreciate the help.
  • Tim 1497 Points
    There is something strange about the line breaks in that file. If you open it in a text editor, each entry should be on "one line" with the fields separated by tabs or commas. Instead there are line breaks between the street/city and then between the zip and phone for example.

    Try starting with this CSV file.
  • fishy 0 Points
    Same error. I tried the same thing with the files myself.

    It is strange about the files that won't work. When you open them in excel you see the address on 1 line. The files that won't work have a carriage return in them after every line.

    I have tried formatting the cells as text, but then when I save as a csv file excel tells me that I cannot change the format. I then saved changes in Excel format and tried to convert that back to csv and same issue.

    I can delete address, phone and description and the file works, but having the phone and address is really nice. It has something to do with the software seeing the address and phone no.s as numbers and not text. Well I will have time in the hotel this week to play with.

    Thanks for the help.
  • Tim 1497 Points
    I was able to convert that file with gpsbabel. What are you using for the input and output file types?
  • fishy 0 Points
    Tim,

    I didn't even try it in gpsbabel. I read your post then tried it and it converted great. What did you do to the text file to make it different than the orginal csv?

    Thanks,

    Bruce
  • Tim 1497 Points
    All I did was essentially what I mentioned... I brought all of the fields into one line rather than the line breaks and double line breaks that were in there to begin with.
  • fishy 0 Points
    Yeah,

    I haven't been paying attention today :oops:

    I will try that later this week with the other files.

    Thanks again,

    Bruce
  • Tim 1497 Points
    I haven't had to do that with other files downloaded from that site so I think it is just an issue with that file.
  • Yes, POIEdit has problem with lot of CSV files from that site due to special characters in the description field.
    Once I have to edit them out with text editor, open with POIEdit, then save it as TomTom OV2 - losing all the addresses & phone numbers.
    If you can find the POI elsewhere , avoid that site unless you have a Garmin.
  • Would be great if we could create a MySQL DB to store POI records.
    Then you could have an ajax tool to create the Custom POI Files.
    Tools to load CSV and other POI files to the db and allow manual addition. After words you could add adding categorization to the records.
  • Tim 1497 Points
    That's what I've been thinking, SouthPaw. ;)
  • Can you point me please to a site that will allow me to update POIs for Walmart, Sam's, Hilton Family Hotels and Marriot Family hotels. I need it for both Garmin and Tom Tom
  • bbs15 0 Points
    Hi, I just loaded a bunch of POI's through Garmins POI Loader onto a SD Card and everthing worked out OK. What I want to know is when I am traveling to my destination will my c550 call out all of these POI's as I near them.

    Thanks...Brian..
  • Tim 1497 Points
    Only if you setup a proximity alert.
  • does anyone have the mypoi file? the poi2go link is no longer working and i'm dying to make some more csv's the lazyman way!
  • I've got it on my computer. Send me a PM with your email and I can send it to you, or anyone else that wants it for that matter.

    Tim, I don't know if you have any FTP hosting abilities. It would be great to be able to upload files like this for anyone to download, as well as upload custom POI's for TomTom as well as other brands. This site is such a wealth of information, a feature like that would surely bring in more traffic to the site, assuming it is cost effective.
  • Tim 1497 Points
    In the forum description I've offered to host POI files. I can do that if you need. The ability for you to upload your own files is something that is being discussed for future inclusion. I can't say much more than that at the moment. ;)
  • patruns 10 Points
    Tim, when you say you have offered to host POI files, how will that work? Will you be providing an area where people can download files (at their own peril) for use on various units from TomTom, Garmin, Magellan, etc? That would be super if you did! I for one would love to have an area where I could get larger and more up to date files for my Magellan.

    Note, I am not advocating ripping off the manufacturers. I'm talking about files created from scratch in formats compatible with the various units. :wink:
  • Tim 1497 Points
    Tim, when you say you have offered to host POI files, how will that work? Will you be providing an area where people can download files (at their own peril) for use on various units from TomTom, Garmin, Magellan, etc?
    Correct. Like what I've done here, and here with a couple of files. I have something "else" in the works for the future, might it will likely be awhile before it is complete.
  • patruns 10 Points
    Yep, that's what I mean. Although, I think a file for a Magellan is a little more complicated.................
  • Tim 1497 Points
    I thought the Magellan POI format was fairly open. Is it not?
  • patruns 10 Points
    It could be. I am only familiar with swapping the whole file, not modifying an existing one. I have much to learn. :)
  • Tim,
    I am brand new to gps. Is is possible to input the exact address of a place to the gps then chose to add it directly to my poi's or do i always have to save it as a separate file on my computer and then upload it? I also received an error message when I tried to upload the magellan computer toolkit from the cd to my gateway. It said the security code was invalid and would create a problem with windows XP and possibly cause the roadmate2200T to malfunction. How can I safely add the toolkits and did you ever publish the program you designed to add POI to a gps unit?(you last post on the subject that i saw was 8/2007
  • Tim 1497 Points
    Is is possible to input the exact address of a place to the gps then chose to add it directly to my poi's or do i always have to save it as a separate file on my computer and then upload it?
    If you want it as a custom POI then it needs to be done in separate file. However you can store it directly on the device as a "favorite" instead of a custom POI.
  • rapriebe 0 Points
    For those who have the time, I just created my first POI (for Garmin) file using addresses obtained from a couple of websites, then entered in MapSource as waypoints. When I finished entering all the points, I saved it as a .gpx file, then uploaded it with Poi Loader. Seems to be just what I wanted....

    I now have all the Colorado brewpubs I can find info for on my GPS, ready to go exploring... :D
  • henca 0 Points
    Sorry for my late reply to this old thread, however I think that my answer is a perfect match for the question.
    Would be great if we could create a MySQL DB to store POI records.
    I was thinking exactly the same and the result is phpoi avaiable at http://phpoi.sourceforge.net/

    In the first released version MySQL is the only supported DB backend, but phpoi is written in a way that makes it rather easy to add support for other DB backends also.
    Then you could have an ajax tool to create the Custom POI Files.
    As you might be able to guess from its name I have used php instead of ajax to create the poi files. In the first release there is only support for a Garmin POI file format, but again, phpoi is written in a way that is supposed to make it easy to add more POI file formats.
    Tools to load CSV and other POI files to the db and allow manual addition. After words you could add adding categorization to the records.
    It is possible to build different databases with POI files. There is an administrator interface to add and edit POIs. I hope to add the ability to let visitors contribute POI data also in a coming release.

    A nice side effect of phpoi is that once you have all that data in a DB it is also rather easy to create web pages with links to different map services on internet.

    regards Henrik
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